President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome area students and the children of military families to the White House for trick-or-treating on Halloween. October 31, 2014.
From: The White House
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Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes' Meeting with Yezidi LeadersBarack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 31, 2014 | 7:21 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)
Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes met today at the White House with Baba Sheikh Khurto Hajji Ismail – the leader of the Yezidi Supreme Religious Council – and other leaders of the Iraqi Yezidi community to discuss the ongoing threat to the community from ISIL and to provide an update on coalition efforts to counter ISIL in Iraq. Mr. Rhodes condemned ISIL’s ongoing attacks on the Yezidi community and other religious minorities in northern Iraq, including Christians, Turkmen, and Shabak, as well as their perpetration of bombings in Shi’a areas and massacre of Sunnis. On behalf of the President, he offered condolences for those who lost their lives in the violence of the past few months in Ninawa province and elsewhere.
Mr. Rhodes thanked the participants for relaying the latest information on the humanitarian situation of the thousands of Yezidi refugees who fled during the ISIL assault on Mount Sinjar over the summer. As part of the military campaign, Mr. Rhodes noted that the coalition had conducted airstrikes against ISIL positions around Mount Sinjar in recent days. He underscored that ISIL’s continued acts of abuse, kidnapping, torture, forced conversion, horrific violence against women and girls, and murder only further serve to highlight the group’s inhumanity and reinforce the international community’s resolve to counter this common threat. Mr. Rhodes urged all Iraqis, including Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, tribes, and minority and vulnerable communities to work together to counter the common ISIL enemy. He also discussed plans by the Iraqi Government to develop a National Guard in which communities could help provide for their own security.
Mr. Rhodes reiterated the United States’ commitment to the safety and security of the Yezidi community within a unified and pluralistic Iraq. He noted the recent positive steps in the formation of an Iraqi government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi and stressed continued U.S. support for the development of a national program in Iraq that addresses the interests and desires of all its communities. He pledged continued humanitarian assistance for those who have been displaced inside Iraq, including the Yezidi population, and expressed our determination to provide support for Yezidi women and girls who have faced terrible abuse from ISIL.
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Anticipated Separatist "Elections" in Eastern UkraineBarack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 31, 2014 | 7:13 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)
We deplore the intent of separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine to hold illegitimate so-called local “elections” on Sunday, November 2. If held, these “elections” would contravene Ukraine’s constitution and laws and the September 5 Minsk Protocol. As President Obama said on October 27, “the United States will not recognize any election held in separatist-held areas that does not comport with Ukrainian law and is not held with the express consent and under the authority of the Ukrainian government.” The only legitimate local election in eastern Ukraine will be held on December 7, as prescribed by the Special Status Law signed by President Poroshenko for parts of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in keeping with the Protocol that the separatists signed with Ukraine and Russia in Minsk, Belarus, on September 5.
As a signatory of the Minsk Protocol, we call on Russia to join the Secretary General of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the international community in condemning the illegitimate vote planned for this weekend. The United States will not recognize any results announced from this so-called election, and we call on all members of the international community to do the same. We also caution Russia against using any such illegitimate vote as a pretext to insert additional troops and military equipment into Ukraine, particularly in light of recent indications that the Russian military is moving forces back to the border along separatist controlled areas of eastern Ukraine. We once more urge Russia and its separatist proxies to fulfill all of their commitments under the Minsk Protocol of September 5, and the Minsk Memorandum of September 19.